Monday, June 11, 2012

Close encounters with wildlife at Russell Pond

The most monotonous day was the 7.5 mile hike to Russell Pond campground. On the way, we stopped to have lunch at the Pogy Pond lean-to, which was one of the most beautiful spots I’ve seen in the park and offered great views of Mt. Katahdin over the pond. 

Katahdin over Pogy Pond
The trail was flat and repetitive, and I was so excited when I caught my first glimpse of the pond that I let out a loud gasp.

We had a two-day reservation on a tent site a short walk from the water. While the roomy lean-tos looked tempting, we decided we wanted to put our new tent to work. We had picked out the newest model of the two-person L.L. Bean Microlight, and so far have been nothing but pleased with our little home. It is surprisingly light and affordable.

This is when the pizza infatuation set in. After only a few days of eating backpacking-friendly meals, I was craving pizza straight from the oven. The House of Pizza in nearby Millinocket makes some of the best pizza I’ve ever had, and I couldn’t stop thinking about getting a big, greasy pie as soon as I left the park.

I saw more wild animals at Russell than in the whole trip combined. Deer, hummingbirds, and chipmunks came out to enjoy the springtime warmth. We saw at least three different moose come to cool down in the pond at dusk, the best time for moose sightings.
Just hanging out by the dock
I had a close encounter with a moose in the woods, too. I was crouched on a log washing dishes for dinner when I heard twigs crunching behind me. Thinking it was Austin returning from filtering stream water, I looked over. Instead, it was a huge bull moose walking through the bushes. Alarmed, I stood up quickly. He stopped in his tracks and stared at me, head cocked. I imagined him thinking, “That’s a funny-looking moose …” and I remembered Austin telling me literally a few moments before how moose might attack if threatened. I started running out of the woods, and the moose started running in the opposite direction. Seems like we were both surprised by the encounter.

Enjoying the sunset over Russell Pond
Austin and I canoed leisurely around the pond on our zero day, and dropped each other off on granite rocks in the middle to bathe in the sun while our partner paddled around. It got so nice we considered going for a swim, that is until we noticed the huge leeches drifting around. We decided to pass.
Thinking about going for a swim ... this was before I saw the leeches

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